Wednesday, December 20, 2006

James Madison, Gun Nut (continued)

And there's more discussion of James Madison here.

James Madison, Gun Nut

I found this interesting post over at The Volokh Conspiracy (scroll down or search for "James Madison"). I suspect we'll see a lot more of this kind of good research over the next two years.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Gun Control Group Takes Aim at Redskins Sport Shooting Event -- 10/10/2006

I suspect that Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder won't be cancelling the upcoming "Redskins Sporting Clays Challenge"despite the dismay expressed by the District of Columbia chapter of the Million Mom March. See Meghan Mulhern's piece about this controversy at: Gun Control Group Takes Aim at Redskins Sport Shooting Event -- 10/10/2006

Ladd Everitt is the president of the D.C. Million Mom March.

"Repealing our gun laws would lead to more homicides, more accidental deaths by firearms, more suicides, basically more gun violence across the board by all causes. That is why we are opposing this event," said Everitt.

Mr. Everitt assumes a causal relationship between "gun laws" and homicides: the implication here is that "gun laws" prevent (or reduce the incidence of) homicides (think of the correlation between traffic laws and the incidence of vehicular manslaughter -- any connection?). Means, motive, and opportunity: "gun laws" haven't affected means, and can't be expected to have an impact (one way or the other) on motive or opportunity.

DC "gun laws" (D.C. Code 2001 ed. secs. 22-4501 et seq. and D.C. Code 2001 ed. secs. 7-2501.01 et seq.) are among the most restrictive in the nation. These "gun laws" haven't had the intended effect on the District of Columbia "body count" (up-to-date Metropolitan Police Department statistics available here). The U.S. Congress and DC Government have tried the gun control approach, and that hasn't produced the expected / promised results (a safer District of Columbia).

The "we need more vigorous gun control" argument is a emotion-driven side-show that has distracted the public consciousness from the underlying reasons behind the District's crime statistics: poverty, drug abuse, "nonmarital births", education, and so on. Let's try focusing attention on the causes of crime and get ahead of this problem instead of sitting around fretting about the results.

The people who are committing crimes in the District of Columbia that involve firearms are already violating numerous statutes (including the "gun laws"). Should we have even tougher "drug laws"? Could we have even tougher "drug laws"? Would any of that help? Cut down on drug crime...that'll cut down on crimes that involve firearms.

Would there be more accidental deaths as a result of realigning the "gun laws" of the District of Columbia to better conform with the rest of the United States? Perhaps; any time you put a device (such as an automobile or a firearm) that can cause death and injury in the hands of the general public, bad things will happen. Education and training will help reduce the incidence of bad things; I'll assert (without proof) that legislation will have a negligible impact. Legislation can't be expected to reduce the incidence of negligent discharge (you can't legislate against stupidity any more than you can legislate for morality), so if you have additional firearms and ammunition in the hands of the uneducated / untrained, you'll have an increase in accidental deaths.

Suicides aren't caused by guns; they may be facilitated by guns, but they can't possibly be caused by guns. For this reason, liberalization of the DC "gun laws" can't be expected to cause an increase in the rate of suicide in the District of Columbia. Having said that, don't be surprised if the proportion of suicides effected by handguns to go up in the face of liberalized "gun laws", but don't expect the overall numbers to go up. There are a lot of factors that spur someone to "check out of the program", but the availability of handguns isn't one of them.

And finally, I come to "...basically more gun violence across the board by all causes". This is the "kitchen sink" part of the argument. Liberalizing the laws of the District of Columbia to permit law-abiding citizens (who aren't part of the crime problem today, and aren't likely to be part of the crime problem in the future) to keep and bear handguns and other firearms can't be expected to increase the incidence of "gun violence across the board by all causes". This argument would have you believe that an otherwise law-abiding citizen is more likely to cause a crime simply by the act of owning a gun. That just doesn't make sense.

I urge the members of the District of Columbia chapter of the Million Mom March to invest time in the DC Government (reform the tax code, significantly reduce "overhead", and attract industry back to the District to provide needed jobs), fix the DC school system, get involved with the youth of the District of Columbia, and establish and maintain an effective Neighborhood Watch program. This kind of activism will have a much longer and broader impact than a demonstration at any sporting event (though it might not generate the same kind of headlines).

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Second Annual "FIrearms Law & The Second Amendment Symposium"

I went to a great Second Amendment symposium today at George Mason University Law School in Arlington. I'm fascinated by the U.S. Constitution, and always look forward to opportunities to learn more. The speakers were great, and it was an interesting crowd with plenty of thoughful questions. I'd didn't do a head count, but I'd guess there were about 150 people attending the event. I'm looking forward to next year's symposium....

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lorraine and I went out for a walk this evening about 2130 -- the weather was perfect. As we approached the intersection of Chatham and Heming, a speeding car just missed a small grey dog (Terrier?). No one seemed to notice the screeching tires, which seemed odd. Lorraine knocked on a couple of doors, to no avail. We brought the dog home so it won't wind up under a car tonight -- we'll call the number on its rabies tag in the morning.

This is our second loose animal experience in as many walks -- the last time was a cat that we mistakenly thought was adrift (old address on the collar tag). I hope this isn't a pattern.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Trips north

I like researching other people's journeys, particularly to places we've been (such as Inuvik, NWT and Tuktoyaktuk, NWT). Here's one that I came across this evening, while posting photographs of our June, 2006 trip: Michael Larkin's Arctic Circle trip.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

We made it!

Well, we made it safely back to Virginia. Sarah and Joe were off to continue their adventure, including a drive back to the Florida panhandle to get ready for a new school year.

What a trip! Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 23, 2006


It's time for a reward for a great day of hiking up and down Mt Riley, and all around Haines. Posted by Picasa
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Bald eagle on the wing

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Quiet time on Mt Riley

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Sarah and Taiya Inlet

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Looking down Lynn Canal

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Taiyasanka Harbor and Taiya Inlet

Taiyasanka Harbor is center, left and Taiya Inlet (the approach to Skagway) is center, right. Posted by Picasa

Katzehin River mouth

This is where the Katzehin River drains into Lynn Canal. The photograph is taken from the top of Mt Riley. Posted by Picasa


Haines, from the top of Mt Riley. Posted by Picasa
That's the Chilkat Inlet and Chilkat River behind me. Posted by Picasa

Chilkat Restaurant and Bakery

This is one of our favorite places at which to eat when we're in Haines. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 22, 2006


It's a slow shopping day at the IGA. This is actually the back entrance, and the store really is open for another hour. Posted by Picasa

Hello, mom?

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Watch out for that cliff!

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It was just our luck that all the Mexican places in town (Bearritos and Moseys) were closed. Bummer. Posted by Picasa

Steve Larsson Homer

Steve Homer is buried in Haines; he's one of the founders of the Alaska Marine Highway SystemPosted by Picasa

Haines is certainly NOT Skagway

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Mountain Market, Haines

We had a nice lunch at the Mountain Market. The IGA has more selection, but the Mountain Market is the place to go for health foods and specialty items. Posted by Picasa

Haines Public Library

That's the award-winning Haines Public Library; we went inside to check it out. Posted by Picasa

Fort Seward

That's Fort Seward in the background. Posted by Picasa